The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) starts its 17th edition tomorrow, 8th March, which by design will have it running concurrently with the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Attracting some 36’000 festivalgoers annually, this 10-day, high-profile event joins screenings of films from around the world with high-level discussions in which human rights violations are debated by diplomats, victims, artists, NGOs, activists and the general public. All discussions are broadcast live online so that viewers can submit questions and engage with the debate directly, wherever they are.
In a reflection of its diversity, the Festival holds debates and screens films at 22 locations in and around the city of Geneva, including the Maison des Arts du Grütli, the Espace Pitoëff, at the UN, in museums, and also in community centres, sports associations, migrants’ shelters, hospitals and local prisons.
International Women’s Day
The 17th edition opens on International Women’s Day and will honour women human rights defenders around the world with a screening of “On Her Shoulders”.
The film profiles Nadia Murad, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who survived the violence and crimes perpetrated against the Yezidi people by Daesh.
With this film, director Alexandria Bombach denounces the heavy personal toll paid by women victims and human rights activists. It will be aired numerous times over the course of the Festival.
The opening ceremony will be attended by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, Swiss Secretary of State Pascale Baeriswyl, and human rights defenders from Libya, Brazil, Iraq and Ukraine.
An unprecedented assault
The Festival’s Artistic Director Isabelle Gattiker says: “We are living through an unprecedented assault on everything we believed we had won: our fundamental freedoms, freedom of expression, the protection of artists and journalists, solidarity, labour laws.
“This 17th edition…brings a flame (that) burns with its openness, its constant questioning, its reaffirmation of fundamental values…it burns with the passion of activists who make their voices heard to express, loud and clear, their refusal of an unacceptable situation.”
To witness and to be a part of that discussion, consult the programme for a full listing of films and debates to be held over the course of this prestigious international festival that continues until 17 March. ♣